Republicans blame Democrats and Democrats blame the Republicans but the truth is that both parties are responsible for our rising deficits. The numbers for the deficit that ended with the year on September 30 show that we had a deficit budget of $1.4 trillion over the last twelve months. This is the largest deficit in dollars ever and it is the largest deficit relative to the economy since the U. S. emerged from World War II in 1945. Put in simple English the government borrowed 40 cents on every dollar it spent this last year. Could your family sustain such spending? Well, the leaders in Washington will hardly tell you the real truth here but neither can the U. S. government.
Advocates will say that all this spending was needed to avoid a depression. I largely agree but the problem is still so immense that this is not a solution, only an explanation of some sort. With tax revenue in sharp decline this deficit problem is even greater than it seems at first glance. Both the President and the Democrats refuse to remove various expenditures that are not really necessary. Why? They want to retain power. The White House budget director says once the recovery is secure they will unveil a plan to restore sanity to spending (next February). Seeing will be believing to my way of thinking.
But the Republicans have offered few real plans to fix a problem that they helped to create under their watch. The Clinton era left us with a large surplus but the Bush era spent it like a drunken sailor. Where was fiscal conservatism when the Republicans passed a massively expensive drug benefit program for seniors? Where was it when the Bush administration committed us to two long wars at such huge cost? If you know anything about how empires have collapsed in history you can readily see the connection to spending overseas under the plan of "nation building." Republicans tout tax cuts, with which I agree, but they hardly ever promote spending cuts since they think they will not win re-election with that approach. They show no courage on the whole.
So who is to blame? Everyone and no one. We have not learned, as a society that saying "charge it" will ruin us in the end. If you want to find a way to see how America could collapse under its own weight look no further than this financial mess that the Congress refuses to seriously address.
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I have a definition of politics that I find pretty useful: “Politics is the art and science of acquiring power in order to control other people and their property.”
With all the recent “bailout,” healthcare and similar nonsense, one thing becomes clear. Politicians have learned that the misuse of money will destroy people and their businesses, so that the government (i.e. the very politicians that did the destroying!) can take over. Their salaries and perks are secure.
Until Christians understand that politics are unchristian (Matt 20:25-27) and that self-government is the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:23), live these principles, and show them to the culture around us, we have little hope.
JA writes: “Advocates will say that all this spending was needed to avoid a depression. I largely agree but the problem is still so immense that this is not a solution, only an explanation of some sort.”
My respectful disagreement consists of my observation that propping up already toxic assets with borrowed funds (via selling US Treasuries to the Chinese and “wink-wink” at their pathetic human rights record and persecution of Christians) is generally not a good idea.
JA writes: “But the Republicans have offered few real plans to fix a problem that they helped to create under their watch. The Clinton era left us with a large surplus but the Bush era spent it like a drunken sailor.”
I am in 200% agreement with you. George W. was a moderate, big-government Republican who also happened to be pro-life. His philosophy of “invade the world” (by spreading Western cultural themes of democracy and freedom to other cultures that have resisted them for centuries) only increased deficit spending.
Check out this graph below. Compare the Bush deficit to the Obama deficit: